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Genetics. 2006 Aug;173(4):1969-81. Epub 2006 Jun 18.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mer2, Mei4 and Rec114 form a complex required for meiotic double-strand break formation.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Department of Genetics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8103, USA.


In budding yeast, at least 10 proteins are required for formation of the double-strand breaks (DSBs) that initiate meiotic recombination. Spo11 is the enzyme responsible for cleaving DNA and is found in a complex that also contains Ski8, Rec102, and Rec104. The Mre11/Rad50/Xrs2 complex is required for both DSB formation and DSB processing. In this article we investigate the functions of the remaining three proteins--Mer2, Mei4, and Rec114--with particular emphasis on Mer2. The Mer2 protein is present in vegetative cells, but it increases in abundance and becomes phosphorylated specifically during meiotic prophase. Mer2 localizes to distinct foci on meiotic chromosomes, with foci maximally abundant prior to the formation of synaptonemal complex. If DSB formation is blocked (e.g., by a spo11 mutation), dephosphorylation of Mer2 and its dissociation from chromosomes are delayed. We have also found that the Mei4 and Rec114 proteins localize to foci on chromosomes and these foci partially colocalize with each other and with Mer2. Furthermore, the three proteins co-immunoprecipitate. Mer2 does not show significant colocalization with Mre11 or Rec102 and Mer2 does not co-immunoprecipitate with Rec102. We propose that Mer2, Mei4, and Rec114 form a distinct complex required for DSB formation.

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